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PRETTY AWKWARD Seamlessly Blends Alternative Rock and Pop With First Full-Length Album Get Weird

Seattle’s PRETTY AWKWARD have been building a loyal and vociferous fanbase over the last few years, and they are serving them a collection of good vibes on their eleven-song studio album Get Weird. There’s no congruent act that you can measure this band against. Nicholas Wiggins and Austin Held are blazing their own quirky and rambunctious trail through today’s musical landscape and are intent on their audience having an enjoyable time. It doesn’t move them, however, to pander to the lowest common denominator. They tap into the tenor of our times without sacrificing their individual voices and the songs emerging from that owe no specific allegiances. They are writing songs primarily for themselves and those tunes crackle with the necessary talent to bring you along for the journey.

“Hang Out” is the first track and establishes the band’s identity. Experienced music fans/listeners will be impressed with the clear vision Held and Wiggins have for this music. It leaps out at you. Their pop inclinations are apparent without ever sounding like it dumbs down the overall package and there’s a hint of orchestration in the way they approach the songwriting that you don’t hear from other bands of this ilk.

“Misfits” was previously released as a single is an early peak on the album. Held, Wiggins, and the other members share songwriting credits for this track and its cohesion is apparent. It’s a prime candidate, as well, for a concert number as it offers an opportunity for the audience to unite behind a first-class chorus. PRETTY AWKWARD is astute with this specific song – it’s the sort of tune that creates a sense of community.

There’s a template for many of these songs. They lay the foundation with probing, even playful, introductions before launching into the main body of the track. “Get Weird”, however, reshuffles the deck. They take off into the song’s main verse motif seconds into the song while still retaining that exploratory quality. It’s a different take on the band’s musical vision and eschews the big-screen choruses that are a hallmark of many of the album’s other tunes.

“Bad Habit” has one of the album’s most compelling rhythms. You can’t play down the contemporary sheen fueling the songs. The percussion of this and other tracks has appeal while anchoring the performances with solid fundamentals. Pairing those rhythms, steeped in hip-hop, with a sharp pop sense makes for an invigorating listen. It really comes alive.

“Castle Walls” will knock you back in your seat when it hits its stride. It practically burns at some points and picks you up in a way that few of the album’s other great songs can match. It’ll be a favorite for many. The imagery that forms the song’s foundation is especially well chosen. “Higher” is another fiery performance. It swirls and throbs, the alternative and electronic elements transforming the cut into an anthem that possesses you from beginning to end.

Their current single “Woozy” has an infectious, sing-song quality that will gives you a consistent contact high…. It will leave you swooning. PRETTY AWKWARD has found a seemingly inexhaustible formula that blends Alternative Rock & Pop that checks off all the boxes without ever sounding manufactured. Their honesty and directness are breathtaking. Get Weird takes you on a fun and endlessly surprising voyage you’ll be glad to take.  

Mindy McCall



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